Tag Archives: Grenada

Making Oildown In Tempe In Grenada

On 7th February 2022 Grenada celebrated 48 years of independence. My friend Winston took me to Tempe in St George’s, Grenada, to meet Curtis Boney who was making oildown, the national dish of Grenada, from scratch for the celebrations.

Oildown is a melting pot of cultural history, a one pot, hearty meal made up of local meats, fish, spices and vegetables. The ingrediants may change slightly – depending on the chef – but a must for every oildown is breadfruit, callaloo, coconut oil and dumplings. It is traditionally prepared outside in a social setting and cooked over a wood fire. | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!

Winston (left) and Curtis Boney in Tempe! | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
Curtis place, C&M Magic Tone Bar in Tempe | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
Curtis had green beans and had prepared seasoning comprising of onion, garlic and seasoning pepper | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
The huge pot for the meat oildown | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
Inside the huge pot for the meat oildown | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
the smaller pot was for the fish oildown which had breadfruit already prepared by Curtis | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
pumpkin | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
cabbage | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
fish (on the left) and chicken back | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
pig snout | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
sweet potato, yam and sweetcorn | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
Curtis prepares the sweetcorn | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
Curtis preparing the pumpkin | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
cutting up the Callaloo for the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
adding a layer of breadfruit in the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
adding the pig snout to the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
adding the sweetcorn to the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
adding yam to the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
A layer of chicken back is added to the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
the pot receives another layer of breadfruit | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
a layer of cabbage is added to the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
Curtis sprinkles seasoning in the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
green beans is added to the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
pumpkin is added to the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
the coconut has been grated and is blended in water | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
after blending the coconut is squeezed to make a huge bowl of coconut milk | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
several packs of saffron is added to the coconut milk | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
Curtis mixes the saffron and coconut milk | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
the saffron and coconut milk is added to the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
Curits makes some dumplings and puts the pot on the fire | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
Curtis prepares my plate of food | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
I tuck into my oildown! | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
my oildown was DELICIOUS! | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
thank you Winston and Curtis for a fantastic day! | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!

A Forgotten Oasis in Grenada – Tri-Centennial Park!

Tri-Centennial Park is a four level resting and viewing area in the town of St George on the island of Grenada in the Caribbean. I explore this area in my you tube video ‘The Secrets of Sendall Tunnel in Grenada‘.

Since publishing the video I found out that the park was constructed for very important reasons which I will share in this blog.  I suggest watching the video before reading the rest of this blog.

Also check out my other videos on you tube and if you enjoy my content, please like, comment and subscribe.

In my video I introduce viewers to a ‘secret space’ above the tunnel. I call it a ‘secret  space’ because at the time of filming  I didn’t know it had an official name – found out a couple of days later – had no clue how long it had been there or who had constructed it. And every time I say ‘relax’ or ‘shade’ in the video take a shot, by the end you will be very tipsy!

Before filming I conducted a quick unofficial survey in town.  I asked ten local Grenadians, all strangers, if they knew of the space above the tunnel. I even asked the couple who run a local gift shop. No one was familiar except one person who said “oh you mean that seating area”. I asked if they knew when it was constructed, by whom or anything about the plaques bearing peoples names on the walls. They answered no each time.

The first time I went to the  park I entered from the bottom. The image below is looking down towards the entrance. I was on my way to visit a family member in hospital and had never walked up these particular steps as there are at least three other ways to get to the hospital. Also, this area was previously over-run by bush so it was not easy to see from the road. The steps, in the centre of the image, on the right, leads to the first ‘secret space’.

Image by Kriss MG Vlogs

The image below is my view as I make my way up the stairs.  The red painted area on the left is the first ‘secret space’ which I will call Level One.

1a

Imagine my surprise, when walking up these stairs for the first time, to come across a seating area that I had no clue existed. This space is made up of two concrete seats and a vibrant red wall.

The floor was swept clean and a black bin liner was tied to a fence so I knew it was a space that was being maintained. When you sit on the seats you are rewarded with a lovely view of the financial buildings opposite, you can also see people and cars as they enter the Sendall Tunnel directly below.

5

Considering how close this area is to the road it is a surprisingly relaxing space but I couldn’t understand why no shading was included in the design.

6

One of the concrete seats has the name Preston carved across it and I wondered of the significance of this word. Is it the name of the company that made the seats, the designer of the space or in commemoration of someone. All I know is those concrete seats are VERY hot, if sat upon in the middle of the day, so if you do visit I suggest bringing a blanket and an umbrella for shading.

7

In this same area there are stairs that lead to … nowhere! This got my mind racing. Where were those stairs supposed to lead to? The plot thickens.

8

I make my way further up the main stairs and I turn at another gap on the left. I will call this space Level Two.

1b

In my video, as I turn on to Level Two, I missed a plaque that was on a wall just beyond.  If you stop my video at 06.27 you will see where I missed the plaque but here is an image below.

3

This is the plaque that would provide more information on the whole space. I saw this plaque a couple days after publishing the video. I was on my way down the stairs after visiting the same family member in hospital.

According to the plaque, Tri-Centennial Park was opened on 23 November 2011 to commemorate the 300th Anniversary of the town of St George.

4

Now that I had a name for the space I did a google search for more information and found out the following.

An article on the Grenada Government website mentions  a 2009 sod turning ceremony which is when work began on the park. It also lists the various government bodies involved in creating the space and announced a Tri-Centennnial event to be held on the Carenage in March 2010. Read the full article here.

https://www.gov.gd/egov/news/2010/mar10/05_03_10/item_4/tri-centennial_park.html

I also came across this lovely ad promoting the forthcoming Tri-Centennial events in 2010 in Grenada.

Then on local news site, Now Grenada, I found an article from 2013 on the unveiling of a new plaque for the site.  The plaques bare the names of people who are now deceased but contributed to the development of the town of St George. The plan was to have new plaques added annually. Read the full article here:

http://www.nowgrenada.com/2013/04/second-recognition-plaque-unveiled-at-tri-centennial-park/

So what happened? For some reason the park was not completed and left unattended for a few years. It was then overtaken by weeds and bushes. But who cleaned it up?

I then found this news report from January 2018 by local TV channel, Grenada Broadcasting Network. According to this report  the Community Relations Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force partnered with Grenada Tourism Authority and other stake holders to conduct a clean-up of the park. This report also says the Community Relations Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force have adopted responsibility for the park.

So let’s continue our exploration of the park. In the images below is the plaque on Level Two, referred to in the Now Grenada article.

9

At the top of the plaque it says “This wall was erected in tribute of those who made significant contribution to the development of the town of Grenada”10

11

I also took images of some of the names on the plaque. As mentioned before, the people commemorated here contributed to the development of the town of St George and the plan was for new plaques to be added annually.

121314

I continue to walk up to the Third Level where I was greeted by four concrete seats, again with no shade, but if you have a blanket and large umbrella it would be a lovely and relaxing space to hang.

16

15

But the most interesting section in Tri-Centennial park is the area shaped like an Amphitheatre.  It is so inviting, I could imagine myself sitting there for hours with a good book, listening to music or just to relax and enjoy the views.

I could see a lot of hard work went into the making of this park which is why it was a shame to see it not being used more, except for one guy who sat on its edges to catch the shade of an overhanging tree.

17

18

The view from the Amphitheatre on the Third Level is both stunning and very relaxing and there is also a lovely breeze too!

20

21

I noticed on the floor, by the Amphitheatre, slabs of wood and as I looked over the railings I could see the beginnings of construction work. Maybe the stairs to nowhere will lead to this construction. All I can do is wonder.

22

I walk up a couple more steps to a Fourth Level which is a pathway leading back to the main stairs.  I’m thinking the wall here was possibly intended for more plaques to commemorate people who contributed to the development of the town of St George!23

Below is the view  from the top of the main stairs looking down just above the Fourth Level. A young man is sitting on a wall and hiding from the sun under the shade of a tree. If Tri-Centennial park were to have shading I could imagine it would be a very popular spot for hanging out.

2

The main stairs leads to a road above and this is the view looking back at the Carenage, abandoned Library and financial buildings – and what a stunning view it is!24

25

I took a picture at this very spot a few years ago, when Tri-Centennial park was overgrown with bush which is why I had not noticed it before.

IMG-20170206-WA0003.jpg

Next to Tri-Centennial park are derelict buildings, a stark reminder of the devastating effects of Hurricane Ivan which passed through Grenada in 2004 leaving destruction in it’s wake.

26

27

28

It is not clear why  Tri-Centennial park was never completed and eventually abandoned. The plaques commemorating those who contributed to the development of the town of St George was a great initiative and its a pity that it was not continued.

But I am very pleased to see the park is restored and continues to be maintained and I commend the Grenada police for making it happen. All it needs now is some shading to help it on its way to becoming an Oasis in the centre of town, a space for relaxation and reflection. 

If you live on Grenada, or visiting the beautiful Isle of Spice, I hope you get to experience this little known area. And if you do please let me know in this blog, on my Instagram or in the comments in my you tube channel.

Grenada Traditional Mas Festival 2018

Despite Grenada being a relatively small and quiet island, islanders sure know how to party especially at carnival time! Known locally as ‘feting’ or ‘playing a mas’ the biggest island-wide fete is the annual Spicemas carnival.

For two weeks, leading up to Spicemas which falls on the second Monday and Tuesday of August, the whole island is alive with concerts and competitions – in beauty, song, pan music and costume – in addition there are all kinds of parties hosted just about everywhere – beaches, fields, stadiums, boats, road junctions, restaurants, back yards, front yards, goat and cow pens (I kid you not!).

IMG_8686
Shortknees, Traditional Carnival Mas players that are unique to Grenada

My favourite Spicemas event is the Traditional Mas Festival, a traditional costume competition celebrating historical carnival costumes. It is held in the town of Victoria in the parish of St Marks, on the West coast of Grenada. Victoria is a quaint and quiet fishing town with lovely wooden houses and a homely feel. It also boasts the recently opened Diamond Chocolate Factory which produces the delicious Jouvay Chocolate.

IMG_8677
Town of Victoria in St Marks Parish

I made my way to Victoria on a bus from Grenada’s capital, St Georges. The journey took around 50 minutes from the main bus terminal and cost EC $5. Once in Victoria it was a short five minute walk, up Diamond Street, to Hero Square where the judging of the competition takes place.

IMG_8679
A home in the town of Victoria

When it comes to carnival costumes, we are accustomed to the ‘barely there’ bikinis and shorts of today but centuries ago masqueraders dressed for carnival very differently. They tended to be covered from head to foot and represented either creatures or mythical figures and most came with a distinctive dance or chant.

The traditional mas bands in Grenada tend to fall under one of the following categories: Shortknee, Wild Indians, Ole Mas, Vieux Croix, May Pole, Ju Ju Worriers and Apache Indians with each parish in Grenada having its own brand of traditional mas band and costume.

IMG_8697
Vieux Croix Band

Past and present Grenada bands to have taken part in the traditional mas festival include: House of Justice, Hermitage Shortknee, Coast Guard Rebels, Demonic Angels, Waterloo Veteran Shortknee, Mt. Rich Shortknee, Tivoli Shortknee, Julien Fedon Foot Soliders, Telescope Shortknee, Telescope Apache, Invaders Apache, The Cultural Maypole, Windsor Forest Maypole, Red Rose Wild Indians, Northern Chantwells.

IMG_8715
Shortknees performing through the streets of Victoria

The afternoon kicks off with the Shortknee and Vieux Croix bands stomping, singing, banging tins and chanting their way up and down the streets of Victoria. This can go on for hours –  a true display of both stamina and athleticism – before arriving at the final judging point in Hero Square where most spectators, like myself, gather.

The Shortknee is a particularly interesting Traditional Mas character because it is unique to the island of Grenada, no equivalent can be found anywhere else in the world. It is also a national icon with its form  making up part of the logo for Spicemas Carnival.

IMG_8690
A Shortknee up close

The main function of the Shortknee is to protect the moral order of the country  and the songs they chant can report on the wrongdoings of an individual, a village or society as a whole. There will be lots of slandering, denouncing and ridiculing – so listen carefully, you will learn a thing or two.

IMG_8706
Shortknees performing through the streets of Victoria

Shortknee costume, movements and chanting is thought to be inspired by blended traditions from Italy, France and Africa. An Italian theatrical form, popular from the 16th to 18th century called Commedia dell’arte was picked up by the French who brought this tradition to Grenada, as colonisers, from 1650 to 1762 and again from 1779 to 1783. It is thought that the Shortknee is influenced by a French character called Grenade Pierrot.

11a
Children playing Shortknee

Shortknees are a joy to watch, vibrantly attired, dancing wildly, legs kicking high up into the air, ankle bells ringing out with every stomp, their long sleeves flailing  from side-to-side. Sometimes they move quickly or maybe they stand in one spot swaying to the rhythm as they chant back and forth. They also throw white powder, usually talcum powder, over themselves and whoever happens to be near by, a fully engrossing and mesmeric experience for spectators.

So the next time you visit Grenada to jump up in carnival, be sure to take in some of the more local events, you will be in for a treat! To stay across all carnival related activities visit: www.spicemasgrenada.com

all images were taken with a Canon 1200D Camera

Here is a still from my you tube vlog on Grenada’s Traditional Mas Festival 2018. Please watch and enjoy!

victoriavlogimage2